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game preview

Sabres at Jets preview

Buffalo has lost three in a row; Laine game-time decision for Winnipeg

by Darrin Bauming / Independent Correspondent

SABRES (29-28-8) at JETS (33-28-6)

8 p.m. ET; TSN3, MSG-B, NHL.TV


The Game

Patrik Laine could return for the Winnipeg Jets when they play the Buffalo Sabres at Bell MTS Place on Tuesday.

The forward, who has scored 26 goals, missed a 3-2 loss at the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday with a lower-body injury. He took part in Winnipeg's morning skate and is a game-time decision.

The Jets are tied with the Nashville Predators and Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. 

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck will start for Winnipeg, which is 1-3-1 in its past five games after going 6-2-0 in its previous eight.

The Sabres, who defeated the Jets 2-1 in Buffalo on Feb. 23, have lost three straight. 

Goalie Carter Hutton is expected to start for Buffalo. He has a .973 save percentage in his past five games against Winnipeg and is 5-5-1 with a 2.02 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 12 games against the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise.


Players to watch

Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds needs one point to reach 500 in the NHL.

Jets forward Kyle Connor has four points (three goals, one assist) during a four-game point streak.


They said it

"They're fighting hard here right now to maintain their position in the race. They're a really connected team as far as they play in both directions. … I think we need to respect them and play our best game here tonight. It's an excellent atmosphere in this building and I'm just really expecting a playoff-like game for sure." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger on playing the Jets

"[Jack Eichel] is definitely a guy we have to watch out there. He's one of the best players in the league right now, and he's a guy that we definitely have to be aware of. Other than that, we have to play a solid game and stick with it until the end." -- Jets center Mark Scheifele


Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jimmy Vesey -- Marcus Johansson -- Dominik Kahun

Jeff Skinner -- Curtis Lazar -- Wayne Simmonds

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Brandon Montour -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Henri Jokiharju

Rasmus Dahlin -- Lawrence Pilut

Carter Hutton

Jonas Johansson

Scratched: Michael Frolik, Colin Miller

Injured: Linus Ullmark (lower body), Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body)


Jets projected lineup

Kyle Connor -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers -- Cody Eakin -- Patrik Laine

Jansen Harkins -- Andrew Copp -- Jack Roslovic

Gabriel Bourque -- Nicholas Shore -- Mason Appleton

Josh Morrissey -- Dylan DeMelo

Dmitry Kulikov -- Neal Pionk

Nathan Beaulieu -- Tucker Poolman

Connor Hellebuyck

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Logan Shaw, Anthony Bitetto

Injured: Mark Letestu (upper body), Bryan Little (upper body), Carl Dahlstrom (upper body), Adam Lowry (upper body), Mathieu Perreault (upper body), Luca Sbisa (upper body), Sami Niku (lower body)


Status report

Jets coach Paul Maurice said Perreault,a forward, is day to day. Lowry, a forward, remains week to week. … The Jets assigned defenseman Nelson Nogier and forward C.J. Suess to Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Sunday.


Stat pack

McCabe has three assists during a three-game point streak. … Skinner has scored a goal in each of his past two games. …The Jets are 3-1-1 in their past five games against the Sabres. … Wheeler has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past nine games. … Scheifele has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past seven games and 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past 10 against the Sabres.

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